Interview with Sarah Hawkins and Myah Hollis (Or Die Trying)

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  1. What inspired the idea to create “Or Die Trying”?

MH: We created Or Die Trying because we wanted to tell our own stories and talk about the types of things that we experience, both in this industry and as women in general. We also wanted to build this really strong network of women who are working together and supporting each other, because that’s so valuable and rare. To us, this show wasn’t just important to produce because of the story we’re telling, it’s also important because of the way we told it.

2. What would you say is the most unique aspect of your show?

 MH: I think there is an interesting dynamic between the four main leads and the actresses that portray them that is unique because we’re each actually doing what our characters do on the show. There’s a duality that makes our connection to our characters really genuine, but also helps us appreciate the distinctions between those women and ourselves. We also have an amazing crew that is particularly invested in this project because they too see themselves and their lives reflected on-screen.
3. Have there been any unexpected challenges in making “Or Die Trying”?
SH: Lack of time and money are always obstacles, but I think what is unique about ODT in this capacity is that we shot close to 70 pages within five and a half days, producing the entire series with a budget a little over 13k. It’s definitely not something I’d recommend, but looking back I think it was a pretty excellent feat that we were able to get it all in, while still producing at the high quality that this story deserves.
 
 4. What qualities do you think make a great show or film, and could you give us a few examples of shows or films that you would consider great?

MH: I think all great TV shows and films have solid, well-developed and realistic characters that are, on some level, relatable to the audience. They don’t have to be likable, they just need to be three-dimensional and complex. To me, great stories are ones with endings that are reflective of how life actually works, whether happy or sad. Grey’s Anatomy and Shameless are two of my favorite shows because they exemplify all of these qualities.

SH: I definitely agree with Myah on developed, relatable characters. Authentic characters will translate to your audience, no matter the medium. As far as series go, I’m really loving LOVE right now. Judd Apatow has a way with dramedy that is just so good; balancing the line between authentic character drama and quirky slice of life mishaps. In film, a stand out that strikes a similar balance would be Little Miss Sunshine.
 

5. Are there any movies or shows you enjoy that are guilty pleasures? Shows that aren’t exactly great, but you still enjoy and appreciate.

 MH: I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. If I enjoy a show or a movie, that means there’s something about it that’s entertaining to me regardless of whether it’s generally considered good or bad. So, on some level, those filmmakers did what they set out to do. I’m not here to diss anyone’s work. We all like what we like.
SH: I definitely have a soft spot for rom coms, but I think a lot of them are great! They might not win an Oscar or anything, but if it makes you feel something–cry, laugh, cry because you’re laughing so hard–that’s all that truly matters.
 
 6. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an independent film project of their own?
SH:  Be confident in what you’re building and invite others to be apart of it. Filmmaking shouldn’t be a one man band. If it is, you are doing it wrong.

7. When is “Or Die Trying” set to premiere and where will we be able to watch it?

SH: We will be announcing our release date soon! Stay tuned at odtseries.com for news and updates.

8. Where can we follow you to learn about “Or Die Trying” and future projects that you will be working on in the future?

SH: For more information on our series, visit odtseries.com. “Like” us on Facebook at:facebook.com/odtseries and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @odt_series.

 

Outside of ODT, you can find me @_sarah_hawkins on Instagram and Twitter and sarahmariehawkins.com.

MH: You can find me @myahhollis on Instagram and Twitter and on HolliBaker.com.

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